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RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAPS ON BITTER NOTE

At the end of his final meeting on the dais, Stanley Sickels embraces Councilman Mark Taylor as Councilman Mike Whelan looks on. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council ended its 2017 session in acrimony Wednesday night as Republicans accused Democrats of politicizing the replacement of Stanley Sickels as borough administrator.

 

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RED BANK: DEMOCRATS BACK ON TOP

Ed Zipprich, left, won a fourth term and Michael Ballard, right, won his first as Democrats swept to victory Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after losing a generation-long majority on the Red Bank council, borough Democrats are back on top.

Helped by a statewide wave of anti-Trump and anti-Christie sentiment, incumbent Councilman Ed Zipprich won a fourth three-year term Tuesday night. He’ll be joined on the governing body by school board vice present Michael Ballard, after they easily vanquished one-term Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur.

 

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RED BANK: AIM OF GOP PACT DISPUTED

Cindy Burnham says she agreed to the terms set above by her then-fellow Republican Linda Schwabenbauer in order to secure GOP support for her council presidency. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Former Red Bank Councilwoman Cindy Burnham got to be council president in 2016 only after agreeing to toe the line with her fellow Republicans, she claims.

Now, out of office for almost a year, Burnham is airing a backroom deal she entered with her party colleagues to attack onetime ally Linda Schwabenbauer over a purported lack of transparency.

But Schwabenbauer, seeking her second council term in Tuesday’s election, says the agreement isn’t the dirty laundry Burnham claims it to be.

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RED BANK: BALLARD Q&A

Michael Ballard. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Ballard’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

 

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RED BANK: McARTHUR Q&A

Dana McArthur. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are McArthur’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: SCHWABENBAUER Q&A

Linda Schwabenbauer. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Schwabenbauer’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH Q&A

Ed Zipprich. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Red Bank Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur; and incumbent Democrat Ed Zipprich and his running mate, Michael Ballard.

Here are Zipprich’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: PARKING, TAXES DOMINATE DEBATE

Council candidates, from left, Dana McArthur, Ed Zipprich, Michael Ballard and Linda Schwabenbauer at Monday’s event at River Street Commons. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The four candidates for two seats on the Red Bank council faced off Monday night in a debate-like forum that focused in large part on parking and tax issues.

The polite exchanges gave residents in attendance a chance to compare a three-term incumbent, a political newcomer, and two candidates who work with numbers all day.

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RED BANK: Q&A ON ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, center, with Councilman Mike Whelan and borough Clerk Pam Borghi last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

With the planned retirement of Stanley Sickels, Red Bank officials are on the hunt for a successor to fill the top unelected position in borough government: borough administrator.

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RED BANK: SECOND-METER ISSUE RETURNS

 Action has been delayed on water meters that would allow Red Bankers to avoid sewerage charges for watering lawns and washing cars, according to the borough administrator. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Where are the water meters that would let Red Bank homeowners irrigate their lawns without incurring sewer charges?

The secondary meters were a hot topic leading up to the borough council’s approval 18 months ago of $3.7 million in bonds to install new primary meters in every home and business, and to cover other upgrades to the municipal water utility.

Since then, though, there’s been little said about the meters — until last week, when the issue sputtered back to life.

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RED BANK: SPARKS FLY OVER BUDGET

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, seen here last May with GOP colleagues Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan, found herself at odds with them, and Mayor Pasquale Menna, Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank adopted its 2017 budget Wednesday night amid some odd political frictions.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who leads the budget-setting finance committee, took clear umbrage at a last-minute critique of the spending plan by Mayor Pasquale Menna. Then, the only ‘no’ votes when it came up for adoption were cast by her two fellow Republicans on the dais.

And before the night was over, Schwabenbauer’s main adversary in this year’s election, Democrat Ed Zipprich, issued a press release commending her.

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RED BANK: CLANCY DISAVOWS DIVISIVE TEXT

Michael Clancy in 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank Republican Chairman Michael Clancy on Wednesday disavowed a text message that a party loyalist had termed a “disgusting” slap at the borough’s immigrant community.

Amid renewed calls for his resignation from the borough Human Relations Advisory Committee, Clancy sent redbankgreen a statement in which he expressed a “deep empathy for immigrants and children of immigrants, who live in fear of deportation.”

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RED BANK: VISCOMI DOUBLE-BARRELS CLANCY

Sue Viscomi at a 2015 board of education meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: The date of a controversial text was incorrectly reported in the original version of this article. References to it below have been corrected.]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A Red Bank Republican loyalist blasted party Chairman Michael Clancy Tuesday, one day after she was bypassed in favor of a political newcomer to run for borough council this year.

Sue Viscomi, who serves on the board of education, also took aim at Clancy for what she said was a “dumbfounding” and “disgusting” text she claims he sent to her and three GOP council members last month in February asking for a list of undocumented alien students so he could “mail it to ICE,” referring to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

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RED BANK: PARTIES TAP COUNCIL CANDIDATES

This year’s council candidates include Democrats Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard, center, and Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, right. Missing is Schwabenbauer running mate Dana McArthur. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The primary races for two Red Bank council seats will be uncontested in June, with the Democrats and Republicans having firmed up their two-person tickets Monday.

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RED BANK: TAX BILLS TO RISE 2.9 PERCENT

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a CPA who heads the finance committee. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxes

Typical Red Bank homeowners would see a $x increase in the borough portion of their 2017 property tax bills under a budget introduced at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

For the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $362,342, that means an increase of $57.25 for the year.

 

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RED BANK: BURNHAM CASTS FINAL ‘NO’ VOTE

cindy-burnham-122816Council President Cindy Burnham at her final meeting as a member of the governing body Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Firebrand activist Cindy Burnham ended her  term on Red Bank’s council Wednesday night vowing to continue the work that made her its most consistent contrarian.

On her way out, she cast the last in a long series of “no” votes in which she was the lone dissenter.

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RED BANK: GOP TIES RIVER WOES TO SEWER

Kellie O’Bosky Colwell 042716Council candidate Kellie O’Bosky Colwell says the borough sewer needs an “overhaul” in light of reported bacteria levels in the Navesink. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainCalling for an “emergency” weekend council meeting, the two Republican candidates for Red Bank council suggested Friday that poor upkeep of the borough sewer system was to blame for elevated levels of harmful bacteria in the Navesink River.

The meeting didn’t happen, and it’s not clear who, if anyone, candidates Kellie O’Bosky Colwell and Brian Hanlon asked to schedule one.

Meantime, incumbent Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, a former Republican now running as an independent, blasted the pair for “egregious” politicizing of the issue.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN ADVANCES, BARELY

rb white st lot 071916 1A divided council gave the go-ahead for a consultant to develop a concept plan for the White Street parking lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank moved another step toward a possible answer to its chronic parking woes Wednesday night, but only after Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a pair of tiebreakers that put him at odds with fellow Democrats.

Menna’s votes were necessary after the council’s two lone Democrats joined with its sole independent in raising objections to a $6,500 contract for a concept plan covering the borough-owned White Street parking lot, where merchants and town officials envision a parking garage.

The debate also exposed rare friction between Menna and Red Bank RiverCenter, the semi-authonomous agency that promotes downtown business interests.

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RED BANK: DI SOMMA QUITS AS GOP CHAIR

taylor whelan disomma 112015Sean Di Somma, right, with successful council candidates Mark Taylor, left, and Mike Whelan last November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Sean Di Somma won’t be staying on as Red Bank Republican chairman after all, according to a published report.

Di Somma informed Monmouth County GOP officials by email Thursday that he won’t seek a second term, which was to have begun this month, according to the report by More Monmouth Musings, a conservative publication based in Highlands.

MMM’s Art Gallagher reports that Michael Clancy, whose failed Red Bank board of education candidacy last fall was studded with controversy over his eligibility to run as well as his positions, is hoping to succeed Di Somma.

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RED BANK: TAX HIKE TRIMMED ON A TWEAK

rb parking 041316 2A recent deal allowing the Count Basie Theatre to sell parking spots at borough hall on specified dates paved the way to a new budget.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe owner of a typical Red Bank home will pay $35 more in local property taxes this year, rather than $40, following passage of the first Republican-led budget in a generation Wednesday night.

The borough council’s unanimous approval of the 2016 spending plan marked the anticlimax to a brief standoff that began when Democrats raised eleventh-hour objections to  what they later called “‘fluff and ‘slush funds” in the GOP budget.

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RED BANK: DEMS TARGET ‘SLUSH FUNDS’

horgan schwabenbauer 101815Council members Kathy Horgan, left, and Linda Schwabenbauer, seen at last year’s Halloween parade, are now at odds over the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesTwo weeks after it was shot down on the mayor’s tiebreaking vote, Red Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation faces its next test on Wednesday.

That’s when council members will square off over cuts suggested by Democrats to what they called “‘fluff’ and ‘slush funds.'”

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RED BANK: BUDGET FAILS ON TIEBREAKER VOTE

schwabenbauer menna 052516Mayor Pasquale Menna confers with Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer during the council’s budget deliberation Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation failed to win approval when Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a tiebreaking vote at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

His vote against the spending plan followed a 3-3 deadlock that included a “no” by a member of the budget-crafting finance committee, Democrat Kathy Horgan, whose caught committee chairwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a Republican, by surprise.

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